Digital Learning Initiatives

The Digital Learning Initiatives (DLI) at DCAL consist of both programs (or initiatives) and services. DLI programs include the Gateway Initiative and the DartmouthX program. Services include consulting and support for online and low-residency degree and non-degree programs throughout the College.

About Digital Learning Initiatives

Why is DLI based in DCAL?

Among DCAL’s objectives is to “promote the purposeful use of new media and information technology for teaching and learning at Dartmouth.” The DLI work that DCAL undertakes is always done in the context of seeking to leverage digital platforms and new pedagogies to advance Dartmouth's recognized leadership in teaching and learning among liberal arts institutions. An important factor maintaining the College’s leadership role in teaching is opening up a space for innovation and experimentation, an effort at Dartmouth that is directed at building on our core strengths of a rigorous education in the context of a close-knit learning community.

Who are DCAL’s partners in DLI?

DCAL coordinates the DLI program, but the real work rests with our Dartmouth faculty, our students, and our non-faculty educators. Faculty work closely with College librarians, instructional designers, media professionals, and assessment experts in developing and running DLI-supported courses.

DartmouthX Initiative

Our main goal in our DartmouthX courses is to take what we learn from open online education and apply those lessons (and digital materials) to our core residential classes. The large numbers of lifelong learners in DartmouthX generates lots of data on what works (and what doesn’t) with digital learning, enabling Dartmouth faculty to take advantage of a global learning community to improve the materials and techniques used in our residential Dartmouth courses.

Gateway Initiative

The Gateway Initiative’s main goal is to redesign the College’s larger-enrollment introductory classes (those that are “gateways to a major”), so that they feel like small classes. Dartmouth does not have many larger-enrollment classes, and a big class at Dartmouth would be tiny at most schools. Therefore, we think of a large-enrollment class as anything larger than a seminar class.

Faculty participating in the Gateway Initiative work with a dedicated team of instructional designers, librarians, media educators, and assessment experts on designing their courses. The goal is to to enable faculty to reach their teaching objectives through the introduction of research-based pedagogical practices and new technology-enabled instructional techniques.

The Gateway Initiative Advantage

Faculty who choose to participate in the Gateway Initiative teach some of the highest-rated courses at Dartmouth, and are choosing to redesign their courses that by traditional measures of student evaluation are already very successful.

Participating Gateway faculty are interested in leveraging the Gateway Initiative, which brings in and coordinates resources from instructional designers, librarians, assessment experts, to introduce a range of new teaching and learning methods to their classes. These methods may include flipped classrooms, greater use of digital platforms for blended learning, and techniques that require students to actively co-create knowledge in the course.